Georg-Arnhold-Professor 2015: Susan Shepler

The third Georg Arnhold Visiting Research Professor: Susan Shepler

From May to August 2015, Susan Sheplercame to the GEI as the third Georg Arnhold Visiting Research Professor. She is Associate Professor of International Peace and Conflict Resolution in the School of International Service of the American University in Washington D.C. From 2013 to 2014, she spent a year as a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Conflict Management and Peace Studies at the University of Jos in Nigeria with a Fulbright grant. Dr. Shepler holds a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies in Education from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master's degree in Mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley and a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics fromthe University of California, Santa Cruz.

Dr. Shepler's research interests include youth and conflict, reintegration of former child soldiers, post-conflict reconstruction, refugees, education and economic development, NGOs and globalization, transitional justice and childhood studies. In addition to her academic work, Dr. Shepler has conducted research for UNICEF, the International Rescue Committee and the NGO Search for Common Ground. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Modern African Studies, Africa Today, Anthropology Todayand the Journal of Human Rights. Her book on the reintegration of former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Childhood Deployed: Remaking Child Soldiers in Sierra Leone, was published by New York University Press in 2014.

RESEARCH FOCUS

TEACHERS,MEMORY AND TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE IN POST-CONFLICT SIERRA LEONE AND LIBERIA

"I am interested in teachers, memory and transitional justice. In particular, how do teachers talk about past wars in their classrooms and why? Various curricular and textbook initiatives exist to aid the national processes of coming to terms with past violence, often serving the political goals of the victors, sometimes supported by international transitional justice institutions. I am interested in how and why teachers embrace or subvert such official efforts through their classroom practices. Although this question is broad in scope, I am investigating two cases in particular: Sierra Leone and Liberia. Each of these countries experienced a devastating civil war during the 1990s and into the 2000s, and each is struggling to rebuild shattered education systems. In addition, each of them has experienced post-conflict transitional justice initiatives: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions (TRCs) in each and a Special Court for Sierra Leone (SCSL). Although their respective ministries of education have attempted to address peace education through UNICEF-sponsored curriculum revision processes, it seems those efforts have not yet reached the majority of serving teachers. This research will help us to understand teachers' own perspectives on addressing past conflict in their classrooms, and perhaps help policy-makers better implement their peace education initiatives."